Candidate Essay: Jaime Areizaga-Soto

by ARLnow.com August 22, 2011 at 3:55 pm 4,810 33 Comments

Last week, we asked the two Democratic candidates for the 31st District state Senate seat to write a sub-750 word essay on why the district’s residents should vote for them on Tuesday.

Here is the unedited response from Jaime Areizaga-Soto:

I am Jaime Areizaga Soto and I’m running to represent the 31st district in the Virginia Senate.  I graduated from Georgetown and got a masters and law degree from Stanford.  I’ve served our country as an Army officer for over twenty years and am currently a JAG Lieutenant Colonel in the National Guard.  I am an attorney with over 12 years of infrastructure experience, a former White House Fellow, a member of the Arlington County Transportation Commission, and a lifelong Democrat.  Over the past two General Assembly sessions in Richmond, I served as Policy Advisor to Senator Whipple supporting and advising her on legislation and caucus-related matters.  The Obama Administration appointed me to the Office of the General Counsel at the U.S. Agency for International Development – I stepped down from that position in order to be a candidate to represent you in Richmond.

I fell in love with Virginia when I was here visiting my family thirty-five years ago.  My heart is in Northern Virginia for it’s progressive values, diverse communities, and our shared commitment to education, equality, and justice.  I believe everyone should have the opportunity for a world-class education, the opportunity to seek justice and have a voice and the opportunity to succeed and thrive.  Some people think these values should not extend to everyone.

I am running for State Senate to fight against the narrow-mindedness that threatens progress. Since 2009 we have seen abortion rights under fire, gay rights stifled and education funding slashed. Cuccinelli even sued to stop the President’s healthcare reform legislation.  Enough is enough!  I want to fight back against the extremism that has taken over our state.  That’s why I am running for State Senate: to fight for our Democratic values and to protect our future.

I am 100% Pro Choice and always have been.  NARAL Pro Choice Virginia has endorsed me.  As a member of the military I am honored to serve alongside members of the LGBT community and I will fight for full equality for all Virginians; the LGBT Democrats of Virginia have also endorsed my candidacy.  I will also stand up for our labor brothers and sisters and am proud to have the endorsements of the Arlington Professional Firefighters and Paramedics Association and of the Communications Workers of America.

My priority in the Senate will be to fight for our Northern Virginia communities and to stand up for our shared Democratic values.  I will fight for progressive tax reform that cuts taxes on the middle class and small businesses, eliminating the sales tax on food and creating tax brackets so the super rich pay their fair share.  It is clear that our transportation system is broken; we need to focus on moving people and goods safely and reliably instead of on moving cars.  I support raising the gasoline tax to equal that of our neighboring states.  I grew up with an elementary school teacher as my mother and I believe that our teachers should be paid at the average of the rest of country.  I will buck any further cuts to education and fight for equitable teacher pay.

I am a native-born American citizen raised in Puerto Rico who has lived the American Dream.  I am an Eagle Scout and serve as Vice President of the Dream Project, a not-for-profit that supports high school students in achieving their college goals.  I will make sure every law-abiding resident is treated fairly and has opportunities to succeed by providing in-state tuition to the children of immigrants who graduate from Virginia high schools (Dream Act).

I will be a strong voice for our Democratic values in Richmond.  I am ready to work for you on day one.  You have my word.  I will not quit or give up.  We cannot stand by and watch the McDonnell/Cuccinelli agenda destroy our state and our future.  I ask you for your vote.  Join me.  Together we can make it right.

  • RosslynBoom

    more articles on business’ opening up, less on politics. please.

  • Cluck Yeah!
    • Stu Pendus

      That article was more damaging to her credibility than his.

  • Rick

    His comments : creating tax brackets so the super rich pay their fair share”

    Wall Street Journal article on taxes – http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424053111903480904576512501087811480.html : “Millionaires Go Missing” = “Those who make $1 million accounted for about 0.2% of all tax returns but paid 20.4% of income taxes in 2009. Those with adjusted gross income above $200,000 a year were just under 3% of tax filers but paid 50.1% of the $866 billion in total personal income taxes. This means the top 3% paid more than the bottom 97%. Yet the 3% are the people that President Obama claims don’t pay their fair share. Before the recession, the $200,000 income group paid 54.5% of the income tax.

    • Vernon

      lots of holes in your logic … what percentage of total income did the top .2% (the million+ club) and 3% ($200k+) earn? remember that .2% includes warren buffett, bill gates and all those hedge fund managers that only pay taxes at the 15% “capital gains” rate on their bloated salaries.

      • madisonmanor

        No flaws in the logic – it was from a WSJ article. But below is a link from the IRS (it uses slightly different categories)

        Total Income % Total Tax % # filers
        Top 1% 20.0 38.0 1.4 million
        Top 5% 34.7 58.7 7 million

        So what the IRS says is that the top 5% of filers had only 34.7% of the total income but paid 58.7% of the taxes. Total number of FILERS (not population) was 140 million. So the “bottom-earning” 95% of the population earned 63.3% of the money and paid 41.3% of taxes. Jaime thinks the disparity isn’t large enough.


        • Um, well

          It doesn’t bother you that the top 5% of filers control more than 1/3 of the nation’s wealth? This is why the middle class is dying out. Wealth is more concentrated now than at any time in our history.

          • Fred

            So, I guess it bothers you. And you propose that we should fix it by simply taking wealth from them and redistributing it downward, just to fix the problem? How about doing things to encourage people to work their way up the scale, rather than punishing people for making it to the top?

          • Cate

            There’s the issue of people working their asses off and still not making it anywhere near the middle, let alone the top.

          • That’s a pretty deep issue, and likely not one you can blame on the people at the top. Immigration, including illegals, have brought salaries down while housing costs continue to rise. Immigrants often pack multi-families into one home thus reducing the housing cost for them so they can afford to work more cheaply. You can blame the world market now too. China, India, and other locations around the world produce goods very inexpensively thanks to….you got it…cheap labor. And, when the job market absolutely sucks, an employer is not going to pay top dollar when he has 1000 candidates to choose from who would work for a modest wage.

        • Vernon

          The nerve of that bottom 50%, with their $33,000 salaries, living the high life with those “refrigerators” and “indoor plumbing.” They really need to pitch in more. http://nyti.ms/ozF6K8

        • John

          It must suck to be rich and pay all those taxes and only have millions of dollars left over to feed your family. Is that a tiny Stradaverious violin playing your song of sorrow.

  • Bluemont Joe

    Neither Jaime or Barbara are getting my vote. On multiple occasions I contacted their campaigns to stop sending material. We would get multiple brochures from each candidate daily. If they can’t listen to my request for this simple matter, than I am not sure they will listen to their constituents concerns while in office.

    • Silly

      With all due respect, this is a stupid complaint. No candidate can take the time or spend the money necessary to address the mail preferences and idiosyncracies of every voter. If you don’t want to read the mail, recycle it. If you don’t want to be an informed voter and actually do your civic duty, then don’t blame the candidates for keeping you home on election day. The problem is you.

      • TGEoA

        I threw all of the fliers Babs sent me on her lawn.

      • Bluemont Joe

        I am an informed voter and didn’t need either to send me literature, especially when it was attacking the other. Soto ran a negative campaign and attacked Favola at every turn. And for your information, you can remove people from a mailing list. The campaign bought the list and has controll over how to use it. So one should be a little nore informed on such matters.

  • SSRS

    Great job Mr. Areizaga-Soto. You have my vote!

  • TGEoA

    If he’s so pro gay, then how come he didnt resign from the Boy scouts?

    • Jake


      • LyonParkVoter

        That was 1991 that they “prohibited” it. He was a member 30 years ago.

  • funny

    Well done Jamie, you took my advice and actually talked about reasons you think you would be a good Sen. Much better then when I saw you speak and could only talk about how the other candidate was mean.

  • Bob Cobb

    How come none of Jaime’s campaign literature discussed what he would do as a candidate? Every one was a bunch of mud-slinging against Favola with little teeny fine print that said it was from his campaign. Cowardly.

    • LyonParkVoter

      You win silliest comment to date. Every one? Selective memory. I’ve received equal amounts from Favola. And both sides, including every single candidate running for all offices, put in small print that it is paid by their campaign. Obviously that tag line for both campaigns is irrelevant to voters. Guess they are all cowards? Thanks for a good laugh!

  • smoke_jaguar4

    As a Hispanic, I am deeply offended at how Mr. Areizaga’s campaign chose to play the “race card” with no corroboration on this forum. I in good conscience can not vote for someone who debases himself in a pathetic attempt to demean his opponent. I will not vote for someone because I feel sorry for them.
    Furthermore, the negative campaigning in this campaign has been inuslting to the voters. When I raised this issue with an Areizaga campaign volunteer who came to my door, he unfortunately responded with a well-rehearsed reply that on regurgitated the negative points against his opponent.

    In my opinion, neither Democrat in this campaign deserves to be elected. It makes seriously consider the Republican contender in November. If that person is a moderate, then they may well earn my vote.

    • LyonParkVoter

      Smoke Jaguar,
      Easy off the pipe and get your facts straight. Jaime didn’t raise the issue. Others did. More importantly, Favola still has not explained the purpose of her bringing up his race or that he raised some of his funds from Puerto Rico. What is pathetic is Favola’s claim that she never meant it to mean that he couldn’t be elected. So, what was the purpose? What did she mean? It was not surprising to see Delegates both those that have and have NOT endorsed Areizaga-Soto condemn these remarks and silly attempt to explain it away. As a Hispanic, you should know better or do you have a better explanation as to why she would bother discussing Jaime’s ethinic background?

      To raise questions about someone’s voting record or her repeated clear violations of the Code of Ethics due to glaring conflicts of interest is not “negative campaigning.” That is what all incumbents/Establishment always immediately cry and argue when someone points out or calls out questionable votes or actions taken.

      Why not answer the questions and be forthcoming? Favola has continued in this election (and in decisions in the past – see recent Sun Gazette article http://sungazette.net/articles/2011/08/22/arlington/opinion/acmt656a.txt) to refuse to clearly answer when confronted on her decisions. In addition, her latest flip-flop on not supporting a pro-life caucus chair was another pathetic attempt to say whatever it takes or lie to obtain a few more votes.

      I think most voters understand this and will should send a clear message tomorrow that we voters can’t be taken for granted and have had enough of career politicians.

      • smoke_jaguar4

        Once Jaime’s campaign issued an statement on this issue, he took ownership of it. With no other proof other than hearsay, however, this is little more than a “he said/she said” situation.

        I am not a Favola supporter. In fact I was leaning toward voting for Mr. Areizaga until the perpetual deluge on negative campaigning started to clog my mailbox. This essay was for me his last chance to redeem himself. However, it appears to be a case of “too little, too late” as his essay follows the same safe boilerplate format chosen by almost every other candidate:

        1. An opening with the list of accomplishments and the apparently important family statement that they have managed to reproduce (I wonder how this plays with the LGBT vote?)
        2. Some detail-free statements supporting progressive values including gender and LGBT equality, environmentalism, social welfare, etc…
        Notably absent is any specifics on how they plan to pay for any of this.
        3. A laundry list of endorsements, including NARAL who has apparently endorsed every Democratic candidate in these primaries
        4. Some ominous statement on Cuccinelli and the threat against Liberalism in Richmond.

        With little reason to support either candidate, I voted to stay home today; bring on the November challenger.

  • Ann Onymus

    Harpo, Groucho, and especially Carl would be proud of this guy.

  • Penalized 4 Working Hard

    I worked 70+ hours per week at 2 different jobs last year to earn enough to support my family and save up for my 5 kids college education. By working hard, I earned over $200,000. A full 33% of my income went to Federal taxes (Uncle Sam took over $65,000 from me). This does not include what I had to pay Virginia in taxes..and it doesn’t count the $5,000 in Arlington property taxes.

    My family lives in a rather modest house in South Arlington – nothing like some of the McMansions I’ve seen around. I am just trying to work hard and save so I can support my kids’ educations.

    Now explain this to me all you Progressives and Obama supporters… why should a hard working person like me working 2 jobs and 70+ hours per week, now get penalized by paying an even higher amount of taxes? Because I work hard? Because I want to put money away for my kids educations?

    I’m just a hard working American who continues to get sacked by a government that is so money hungry, it can never seem to get enough – someone people like Obama lump into a category of “junk bond traders” who should be milked for more more more.

    • Bibbs

      Obama is not talking about people making 200K but more like over 500K or $1 million.

      And the highest tax bracket in Reagan’s first 2 years in office was 70%:


    • This seems like a canned issue/story from the far right, but I am with you in theory. I also already feel as if I pay too much tax and shutter at the thought that I could pay more if I work harder (or more hours) to make even more money.

  • KalashniKEV


    I’ve never come across a Transgendered Soldier in the Army… though I made it a point to stay as far away from JAG as possible!! 🙂

    • Hattie McDaniel

      How do you know? Were you checking their genitalia?

    • Aaron

      If I recall correctly, the USAF had a TG general officer in Crystal City as of 3-5 years ago. The person wasn’t L/G/B though so there really wasn’t anything they could do about it other than pay for the reassignment and tell everyone to pretend nothing happened.


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